Sunday, May 15, 2011

New South China Mall: A Case Study In Empty Promise

America has in many ways become synonymous with excess and over-commercialization, but it would appear we're being surpassed by China on these fronts and more.

The New South China Mall (新华南MALL) opened in 2005 in Dongguan, China. It's the largest mall in the world in terms of gross leasable area, ranking second only to the Dubai Mall in total area.

The project was conceived by Hu Guirong (Alex Hu)—a billionaire by way of instant noodles—as a way to bring an enormously grandiose project to his hometown.

All well and good, but since the mall's opening it has remained 99% vacant.

Few merchants have ever signed up, and aside from a smattering of American fast food restaurants, there is very little in the way of shops.

The mall is located in the suburbs of Dongguan, a city of some 10 million residents. There are no major roads going to the location however and there is no airport nearby to ferry in tourists.

Below is a short-film about the place by Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Sam Green. The piece is called, "Utopia Part 3: the World's Largest Shopping Mall."

The film paints a very strange picture of what's going on over there.

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

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